Monday, March 29, 2010

Microfiction Monday

Welcome to Microfiction Monday, where a picture paints 140 characters, or even fewer. Yes, I am late today. The work computer is terminally stupid...and I'll let it go at that. Make sure you let Susan know you played.


Here's this week's photo

Found the body here.
Leaned too far they say.
Went too far more like it.

The widow okay?

Yep. Hope she's not cited for water pollution.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Friday 55

Once again it's time to play "Can you write a story in 55 words?". The answer is, "Sure you can...with a little editing." And when you create that masterpiece, be sure to let the G-Man know.



What if
that Bad Driver
lost his job?
Or a loved one.

What if
the cranky Mom
at the grocery store
has more kids than food?

What if
the door not held for you
was because the Doctor's news
came from the Grim Reaper?

What if
we gave people a chance
before labeling them
"GUILTY"?



As for guilt, we can start with me. My car found out it had been paid off in December, so Wednesday it decided to eat a back window. This necessitated an early morning visit to the Dealership on Thursday, where the man advised my model just might have to have a new window, even if mine was intact...because "that's the way they make stuff now....in units".

Sigh.

Went home ready to drive my Aunt's car [she who resides in the nursing home, for whom I "serve" as Social Secretary/Purchasing Agent]. The battery was dead. Thus Hubby turned to me and advised I'd have to drive his truck. That would be the BIG, extended cab pickup which requires a bar for me to step on when I get in. When I get out, I merely leap to the ground yelling "Geronimo!"

So there I was, driving down a country road, looking like a five year old who'd stolen Dad's truck. It felt wider than a bus to me [I drive a Jeep] and suddenly I felt 16 again....wondering if I was driving dangerously close to the shoulder of the road like I had as a new driver. I wasn't, but it felt that way. Then someone began to tailgate me and wouldn't pass, even when there was room.

My immediate thought was, "Idiot! Pass or back off! Are you nuts?"

Then I wondered what they were thinking about me. "Geez. Could she be any shorter? Or did she steal that truck?"

That's when it hit me how many times we make snap judgments without all the facts. Sure, the tailgater did eventually pass and although I'm 99% sure he was just in a hurry, there was a part of me which whispered, "What if someone in the car needed to go to the hospital? What if a Father had just died and a caring Son was rushing to his Mother's side?"

Silly? No...because both have happened to me.

So I'm going to try a little harder to be more patient. And kinder. Because most of the time...we really just don't know.

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Finding Inner Peace

Inner Peace

Ah, so true. No, I didn't write it.
I'm just sharing it because it made me smile.




If you can start the day without caffeine,


If you can always be cheerful, ignoring aches and pains,

If you can resist complaining and boring people with your troubles,

If you can eat the same food every day and be grateful for it,

If you can understand when your loved ones are too busy to give you any time,

If you can take criticism and blame without resentment ,

If you can conquer tension without medical help,


If you can relax without liquor,

If you can sleep without the aid of drugs,


...then You Are Probably




The Family PET!




And you thought this was a spiritual message.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Hershey's Better Basket Blog Hop

Hi, my name is hope and I'm a chocoholic.
(Hi hope!)

And I'm hoping you'll help aid with turning my vice into something wonderful for some very deserving people: the Children's Miracle Network. The idea is simple really: you gift someone with a virtual Easter Basket, then ask them to do the same. Hershey’s [as in my favorite chocolate makers!] is donating $10 per each blog participating to the Better Basket Blog Hop up to a total of $5,000 by blog posts written by April 4th, 2010.

Thanks to Thom, who brought this to my attention, here are the rules. Come on. It is truly better to give than receive. And this way...no calories, no guilt.


I'd like to give a virtual Easter Basket to the following sweet folks:
If my list seems short, it's because some on my list have already been tagged.

Titus at Titus the Dog
steven at the Golden Fish
Dan at Vacant Mind
Ivy at Ivy's Place
Larry at This Blog of Mine



HERSHEY’S BETTER BASKET BLOG HOP RULES
* Copy and paste these rules to your blog post.
* Create a blog post giving a virtual Easter Basket to another blogger – you can give as many Virtual Baskets as you want.
* Link back to person who gave you an Easter Basket.
* Let each person you are giving a Virtual Easter Basket know you have given them a Basket.
* Leave your link at BetterBasket.info/BlogHop comment section. You can also find the official rules of this Better Basket Blog Hop, and more information about Better Basket with Hershey’s there.
* Hershey’s is donating $10 per each blog participating to the Better Basket Blog Hop to Children’s Miracle Network (up to total of $5,000 by blog posts written by April 4th, 2010).
* Please note that only one blog post by each blog url will count towards the donation.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Microfiction Monday

With a mere 140 characters, use Susan's photo of the week to tell a story. Then make sure you tell her you played. Come on! It's fun! Here's this week's photo.

See the world, muttered the new sailor,
looking at the woman from the poster.

"Hi! I'm Ida World. Here you go," she smiled,
handing him a mop and pointing to the deck.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

And That's the Way it Was

The first time my 7th grade English teacher wrote this poem on the board, we thought she'd lost her mind. No, she was just introducing me to my life long friend, Ogden Nash. I think this was the first poem I memorized without it being mandatory. When I went home and recited it, my little brother thought it was hysterical. Being 8 years younger than me, he was easily entertained.

And thus was born a family tradition of sorts. From time to time Bro would ask me to "tell him that thing again". I would and we'd both laugh. When I got married and moved away from home, each Spring I'd send him a postcard. No signature. Just the poem on the back. One year I forgot and he kept talking about the arrival of Spring. Kind of an odd subject for a kid in high school. Then I realized why. I never missed a year again.

Three years ago, he declared himself "too old" for this ritual and suggested I send the postcard to his son instead. I love my nephew, but it just wasn't the same...especially as I had to add a note for his 7 year old self, "Ask your Dad...he'll explain."

The only thing "Dad" couldn't explain is how he got too old for this poem....and I never have. Never will.

So here, on this the first day of Spring, I share with you a tribute to:
Spring
Childhood memories
A younger brother who got old
An older sister who still embraces her inner child
And a formal apology to Ogden Nash for what I did to this poem yesterday in my "Friday 55",

Spring is sprung.
The grass is riz.
I wonder where
the flowers iz?

The bird is on the wing.
Now isn't that absurd?
I always thought the wing
was on the bird.


Little Brother's Youth
may it R.I.P.

As for me?
I'm not ready to be a REAL adult yet.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Friday 55

Okay, this week with Spring rising in the air, my count was a little short...and my Friday logo is MIA. But should you decide to write one of these 55 word stories, kindly let the G-Man know.

With apologies to Ogden Nash


Spring is sprung.
The pollen's riz.
I wonder where
the Kleenex iz?

Eyes water, head doth pound.
This feeling's quite absurd.
Is it so terribly wrong
To wanna flip Ma Nature the bird?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Round Two...or

...Some People Really Are Dumber Than You Think.

Guess who was back today? Give yourself a round of applause if you came up with Black Hoodie Guy, star of my Being a Good Neighbor Post. At least this time I wasn't alone in witnessing this man's stupidity. And this time, he brought a friend.

I guess the easiest way to tell the tale is the way I briefly surmised it in case I have to talk to the cops again. Most law enforcement types will tell you to write it down as soon as you saw it, so you don't lose the details. Any time you find something in italics, that's my "little voice" adding it's running commentary. I'll apologize now for the way this looks: cut and paste doesn't work well on the work computer. I swear I didn't try to make it look this weird!

Thursday, March 18, 2010 Approximately 9:15 a.m.

Witnesses: Myself and Part-time Worker


2 BM (sorry, police lingo for Black Male) stopped at the corner of the Center’s fence, at the gate. One was the same individual I previously contacted the Sheriff’s Office about on Friday, March 12th. [Deputy M.]. These same two BMs walked down the fence on Monday, March 15th, the one wearing a black hoodie gesturing angrily toward the building.


#1 BM, late 30s, dark complexion, beard, tan ball cap, black hoodie, red sweatshirt, grey long sleeve t-shirt, khakis.


#2 BM, late 30s, light skin, bald, orange long sleeve shirt, dark pants.


We watched through my office window as #1 stopped at gate, took off his hoodie, pulled off a red sweatshirt, hung it on the fence, put hoodie back on and headed with other BM across the Center’s front lawn.


No one wants an early morning strip show...especially when it feels like [a] someone is marking your Center for something bad or [b] someone feels the need to be...lighter.


Considering the past history of the #1 individual, I went across the hall and checked out the kitchen door to see where they were going. Both headed toward the car wash. As #2 walked into the woods just prior the car wash, #1 looked back and pointed toward the building before joining #2. The pair proceeded through the woods toward (grocery store next door). I have no idea if they saw me walk out to my car or not.


Well of course I hoped they didn't, but it was the only way to see if they were going to perch on the bench out front.


Less than 5 minutes later #2 came running around the fence, grabbed the red shirt off fence and headed toward the abandoned white house across the street. [On C. Lane]. He was closely followed by #1, carrying a large white box which appeared to be a liquor box. The pair ran behind the abandoned white house. I observed #1 then slowly walk into the woods behind the largest pine tree, where he disappeared from sight.


Several minutes later, 2 BM in blue uniform style clothing jogged past my office. I cracked open the back door and asked if I could help them.


The little voice now goes into too much crime T.V. mode, wondering if the box contained drugs which had been ripped off...and there I was, talking to the drug dealers who'd been ripped off?


The men advised they were working off the Bacardi Truck in the Grocery Store parking lot when someone stole a box off the truck. I advised that we [Shirley & I] had seen the pair running with a box and advised in which direction. They asked if I would call the police and returned to wait with the truck at the Grocery Store parking lot.


Sadly, I said I'd be GLAD to, my enthusiasm hopefully not misinterpreted. It wasn't that I wanted the men in more trouble, I just wanted them AWAY from my seniors. Fortunately, none were here at the time.


I contacted the Law Enforcement Center and was advised that 2 City units were en route. A couple of minutes later a City unit began to circle my back lot. I stood outside the back kitchen door and waited until he completed his circuit, then asked if he would like to know which direction the suspects ran.


I'm pretty sure I heard the Officer's jaw hit the ground. He'd perceived me as merely a nosy person, rather than someone with information. He soon changed his tune....and thanked me. Too many people don't want to be involved. I didn't want to be involved with this guy either, but he didn't really leave me any option.


I advised of the previous situation on Friday so the Officer could speak with Deputy M. if necessary. I advised that a neighbor informed me on Monday that she believed #1 was staying in a gray mobile home on Mc. Lane with #2. The mobile home next door is visible from our lot, therefore I advised the Officer that the one which the neighbor had pointed out was the gray mobile home next door, which sits on the lot at an angle. 3 City Units combed the area, concentrating on the mobile home in question. We did not witness any further contact.


But you can be sure that if Black Hoodie Guy and/or his Pal comes out in daylight hours again, I'll be glad to find them a ride, complete with blue light and siren.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

To The Rainbow's End

I asked for your help with a story I was doing for the Senior's newsletter about a Leprechaun's Pot 'O Gold. This is how it ended up. Thanks!


With the current economy, I wouldn’t be surprised to find folks following a rainbow in search of a pot of gold. The problem is, first you have to catch the Leprechaun, which isn’t an easy task. Considering how grumpy and tricky legend says these wee folk are, you might wish you hadn’t even tried. Then again, I’d be grumpy too if my job was to make tiny shoes for the Fairies while people were after me gold.

As St. Patrick’s Day approaches, I wondered what that pot of gold would be worth today. The idea seemed simple enough. Find a pot which appeared of the correct shape, determine how much it could hold, fill it with gold coins and determine the current price of gold.

The first problem I encountered was the size of the pot. Sure, it looks huge next to a Leprechaun. Then I remembered a leprechaun is only 3 feet tall. The cauldron of Shakespeare’s 3 witches suddenly shrunk to the size of a colonial cooking pot. So I turned to my Irish friends online, hoping they could translate legend to fact. Their help proved very enlightening. In fact, they were SO helpful, it killed my idea.

I love my friends, so I won’t name names. Besides, they could’ve gotten seriously injured falling out of their chairs laughing when I asked the question. My first friend’s reply even offered a way out of the mess I’d created. “I've never ever heard an Irish person even say the word 'leprechaun', or tell any stories about them. So, I think you're free to make it any size you want! Nobody will argue with you.”

Good start. Until another answer added controversy…with tongue firmly planted in cheek. “Of course there are Leprechaun's. I've seen them lots of times...like in the musical "Finnegan’s Rainbow!”

The problem with legends is people only agree on about half of what you’ve heard: catch the leprechaun, get the gold. One even added a disturbing twist. “If you try to reach inside the pot o’ gold without first catching the leprechaun, the pot will shrink around your wrist and cut off your hand.” But then she added, “If you are lucky enough to catch the leprechaun, then the pot o’ gold is wider than the sky and deeper than the ocean.”

I hate math. That Sky-to-Ocean scale really complicates things.

Another pal offered, “I believe the pot of gold is bottomless...its contents are determined on an individual basis. So I can't really give you a number. You want a number, oh the pressure of a number. Maybe like a billion and beyond! I'll have to ask the Congress Budget accounting office first how much is left in the people's pot of gold.”

That made me laugh. Laughter is free. And IRS exempt.

Giving up, I stumbled upon a website which calculates the phrase “worth your weight in gold”. The average American man’s weight of 180 pounds is worth $2,853,309.78 in gold. Seems you’re better off with an average man than running after a grumpy leprechaun.

So enjoy your rainbows. At least they’re tax free.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Microfiction Monday

With a mere 140 characters, use Susan's photo of the week to tell a story. Then make sure you tell her you played. Come on! It's fun! Here's this week's photo.




Having learned his lesson,
he stood at a respectful distance from the Princess.
She'd warned his wooden expression
would freeze like that one day.
Her Wizard had made it so.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Being a Good Neighbor

It happened again about the same time last year. The weather begins to get warmer, the sun shines a little longer and then He arrives. Always dressed in jeans and a black hoodie. If you try to make eye contact, He looks away. If it appears you might approach, He pops up and slinks off.

I think of him, not as a harbinger of Spring, but like an assistant Grim Reaper.

Yes, I know that sounds a little weird. But that's exactly the vibe He gives off. Weird. Spooky. Unnerving. Or as my seniors usually note...creepy. I use to wage war with my conscious, wondering if He was harmless. Or worse, homeless and in need of help.

I wonder no more.

Let me back up for a moment, to give you the whole picture. My hometown was originally rural and the land agricultural. The only way to get "into" the City limits was to go through the process of having the neighbors sign a petition requesting to be physically embraced by the City. ALL of the neighbors. Some viewed this as a great way to get better water and garbage pick up. Others saw it as an invasion of their privacy, with higher taxes to boot. My Center is surrounded on three sides by rural dirt roads. In fact, if I look out the back windows, I can still see a family plot cemetery, home to about 25 gravestones. Those three dirt roads and my building remain in the county....and we are surrounded by the City. My neighbors like country living and they've often fought to stay that way. Personally, I like that rooster across the street who crows all during the day. His voice is much lovelier than the train which rattles my office window panes or the sirens of the Fire/Ambulance Station down the road constantly racing to the rescue.

My Center is far enough off the busy "City" street that if you don't know where to look, you'll miss our sign. In front of the Center is a monument noting our building's past as a "Colored School". The Center itself is actually the 1956 addition to an elementary school for black children built in the late 30s. Several years ago, a group of alumni gifted our site with two benches, a flag pole and the above mentioned marker. We're fairly secluded so not many people know why the memorial is there. Now that a drive through car wash has sprung up in front of us, the occasional person will wander over to see why there is a little concrete island outside our fence.

Once in a while I see someone sitting on a bench out front. Many of the neighbors like to walk to the grocery store next door. The elderly lady across the street, Mrs. Pitts, always waves at me, pointing out all the wonderful vegetables she grows in her garden. Almost everyone I come in contact with is friendly.

Except Him.

He shows up suddenly. Slinks like a shadow and parks himself on a bench. Okay. That doesn't hurt anything. But He sits for HOURS. Staring dead ahead. Never moving. Unless, of course, someone says hello. Attempt to make eye contact, He turns his face away. If you take one step in his direction, He bolts upright and tries to casually walk away. Except his walk has the urgency of someone not wanting to be caught and his idea of "away" is to lurk in the bushes until the friendly person disappears. And then He returns, sitting as stonily as the concrete bench he occupies.

Time changes things and not always for the good. Most of us are more cautious than we use to be....less trusting. I'm especially aware of my seniors, who can't move at lightning speed if physically threatened. The first time I let him sit undisturbed on the bench because when the seniors came up, He slunk off. When they left, his ghost like visage reappeared. Since He refused to look at me when I locked the gate, I began ignoring him. Oh sure, I kept checking out of the corner of my eye, but He seemed to be more comfortable being ignored.

I kept that halfway ignoring thing going until the day I caught him standing up on the bench, hand shading his eyes and peering left, then right, as if he were on the bow of a pirate ship, looking to plunder and pillage. That's when I called the Sheriff's Office and asked for someone to talk to him. A Deputy did, then came back to tell me the man claimed he'd gone to the school and was just sitting there thinking about "the good ol' days". The Deputy, with a wry smile, had suggested He think for shorter periods of time and move on after a few minutes.

And so He did. Summer in the south is too hot to sit in the sun wearing a black hoodie and He disappeared. Last week He showed back up. I unexpectedly dropped by on a Saturday morning and there He sat. As I got out of the car to unlock the gate, He slunk away. I grabbed what I needed and left. Five hours later, on my way home, I remembered the gate was unlocked. He was still there. Sitting stone like. A hooded face I couldn't see. But he saw me and scurried off into the bushes like a mouse suddenly caught at midnight stealing cheese.

He was there again Friday but this time, his appearance sent a red flag waving frantically in my brain. This time He was pacing up and down the fence outside my office window. Sure, he was on the other side of the fence but the hoodie was down. I saw his face. A face which was muttering to itself and glancing at my building, which was filled with a ladies' group, then toward the street. He was older than I thought, with a beard. And bigger than I'd realized. The old law enforcement dispatcher in me immediately took inventory. Black male, late 30s, early 40s, about 6'2", lean but solid build, black stocking cap, tan tee shirt, blue jeans and dark shoes.

I tried to tell myself He was just on a walk. Which might have worked if He hadn't stopped, glared at my building, then begun pacing back and forth again. Suddenly He whirled around, crossed the street towards Mrs. Pitts' house, went to the 3rd car in her yard, opened the door and got in. He sat for the next 15 minutes. Was He homeless and living in the car? It was a junker which hadn't moved in several years. He popped back out and began pacing again. I felt uneasy. A little voice in my head, which my officers use to call "The Voice of Danger", began yelling at me. Screaming actually.

"This is not right! Do something!"

I hesitated momentarily. He got back in the car. The ladies' group finished and I walked them to their cars, staring in his direction. Some part of me, the stupid part I suppose, wanted him to know I was watching. That I KNEW He was there and we both knew he shouldn't be. After everyone had gone, He popped out of the car again. With determination He began strolling toward the bench. That's when my little voice yelled, "Call now! Remember what happened the last time you chose to ignore me?"

A twinge of guilt stabbed me in the heart. The last time. When I'd tried to silence that voice when it raised a red flag about the two strangers who kept walking up and down my fence. Sure, they were too old to be in school, but they probably should've been at work. But they were just walking. No law against that. No law against glancing around at your surroundings. Yes, they did seem to go on these walks a lot lately, but times were tough. Maybe they couldn't afford a car.

Turns out they were working all right. They were casing the neighborhood. One day, about 2 hours after I left work, they knocked on Mrs. Pitts' door. When she opened it a crack, they burst in, beat her up, stole her car....and left her for dead.

The image of that sweet little woman lying outside in the cold, pretending to be dead so they would leave, grabbed my heart and squeezed so hard I was dialing the Sheriff's Office before I knew it. Yes, they did catch the men. The same two jerks who'd walked up and down my fence.

He was on the bench outside when a siren went off, sending him scurrying back toward the car, his "leisurely" pace wrapped in guilt. The siren belonged to a fire truck, but He didn't know that. As He sat safely in the car, the Deputy met me out back, somewhat surprised I had such a detailed description. Guilt can do that to you. I returned to my office and watched the whole thing through the window, like a bad t.v. show. My heart picked up speed as the Deputy exited his car, hand on hip, to approach the other car. I was actually angry that the Deputy had parked right in front of the other car because there was a small hill between us. God forbid something awful happen to the Deputy. I'd sent him into this situation and I felt a bit responsible for his safety. If things went bad, could I get HIM help in time?

He got out of the car reluctantly, was patted down, then began to gesture angrily, pointing up the street, then back down the other way. I could see the Deputy say something, shake his head, then point a finger up the street, like a parent sending a bad child to his room. He left reluctantly, muttering. Suddenly He wheeled around and I instinctively reached for the phone. He was waving at Mrs. Pitts, who had her screen door open but did not step out. The Deputy shooed the man on his way, then spoke to my neighbor. Unlike in years past, the Deputy did not come back to update me, but he did go out the way he'd sent the man.

For a moment, my heart sank. Was this someone Mrs. Pitts knew? Was He perhaps homeless and she'd allowed him to stay in the car when necessary? Had I been a good neighbor ...or merely a nosy one?

Leaving for the day, I spied Mrs. Pitts at her mailbox. Driving over, I gently called her by name, reminding her who I was by pointing at the Center. I inquired, feeling slightly guilty, if she'd known the man. Mrs. Pitts' shook her head vigorously. Although she'd worked with his mother years ago at a local factory, she had no idea who he was or why he was around. I explained how his presence worried the seniors and that one of the neighbors had called me earlier in the week to say he'd been on the bench all weekend. The neighbor had been scared to walk past him and had walked home the other way. The longer way. In the dark. When I told Mrs. Pitts I'd called because of his odd behavior getting in and out of the car, her eyes grew wide.

What car? she'd wanted to know, her tone uneasy. When I pointed it out, she was visibly shaken. The car belonged to her son. An old clunker that wouldn't start. He was in the military, in Germany, and had asked if he could leave it there until he got back.

The little voice in my head smirked.

I asked if we could lock the car but she had no key. Mrs. Pitts exclaimed she was going inside right that instant to call her son and see if he wanted it towed elsewhere. Telling her I'd sit right there until she and her walker were safely inside the house, she smiled, saying her interest in pulling weeds had vanished. And then she thanked me. With a lump in my throat I confessed I never wanted to see her harmed again. That I should've called the day I saw the two men who kept walking past.

And that's when she let me off the hook with a smile. "You're a good neighbor. I know you're watching out for me. And I watch out for you."

For a split second, I remembered how the world use to be, when we cared about our neighbors. For all the right reasons.


Thursday, March 11, 2010

Friday 55

Okay, this week I MADE time to come out and play! Make sure you let the G-Man know if you decided to write one of these 55 words stories too!


In the beginning.
Once upon a time.

In a galaxy far, far away.

“Writing a novel?” Sam asked.

“Naw. Looking for a novel first sentence
for my Family Tree story.

How Mom & Dad ‘begat’ me.

Something catchy.

Not weird.”


“Yep,” Sam agreed with a nod.

“No one wants to think about their parents begatting.”

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Go Fly A Kite!

That was the Boss' rallying cry for Saturday. I didn't actually fly one, but I registered all those who participate in this annual event. Some families come every a year. So I started my own family tradition and brought the nephew. We got him a kite [he picked out a blue plane] and away he went. Kites sailing up in the atmosphere, up where the air is clear.

[Hats off to anyone who recognizes that last line!]

Look, up in the sky! A giant, colorful butterfly.


So I didn't get much reading done [Sorry my Friday 55 friends!] or writing either. And I'll probably miss Microfiction Monday as well this week as we're going to dinner with the Mom-in-law in a few minutes, meaning I have run out of free weekend time. But I leave you with this thought for the coming week:

PEACE!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Friday 55

Why yes, even in these economically challenged times, you CAN write a story in 55 words. And if you do, please let the G-Man know you came to play.



“Who’s that?” the old woman whispered fearfully,
pointing out the kitchen window as the sun set.

“Where?”

“There!” she hissed.
“To the right of the tree.
Quick, before he turns and see us!”

Standing behind his Grandma,
he peered at the shrub’s silhouette and sighed.
It was definitely time to get Granny some new glasses.



I took this in our backyard one year at sunset.
Only creative types grin and ask "who" does that silhouette belong to?
I once joked it was my Guardian Angel.
Given the look I got, I didn't say it out loud again.

But who knows?
Maybe it really is.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

It's Not Me Doc....It's YOU

My brain has a weird quirk. Okay, stop right there. You can imagine as many quirks as you want but this one needs work. I am a responsible, level headed adult who many people trust to handle very important things. I am a college graduate who understands logic is an important part of life, even if it doesn't always rule accordingly. I am a big girl and know that walking into a doctor's office is the first step to get what ails you fixed.

Sadly, there is small, yet vocal, part of my brain which believes a doctor's office is enemy territory.

And thus the weird kicks in. Intellectually, I have made myself walk into a doctor's office because I have a health problem which cannot be solved by wishing it away. I do not go often, thankfully, because I'm in good health for the most part. [The bad part would be sinus issues]. And besides who wants to pay to hear an overweight, middle aged man tell you to lose weight? I've got eyes and a mirror. Even a layperson understands that.

So what's my problem?

I have to convince my intellect that my reaction to having a blood pressure cuff strapped on should not be akin to a five year old being probed by aliens and Dr. Frankenstein.

It happened again today. Hubby lectured last night and although I very politely bit off his head with, "Could we change the subject, please?!" the truth was still there. My asthma is not currently under control and a doctor needed to intervene. And I needed to let one. So today I made myself get a "real" doctor vs. running into one of those 24 hour "Doc in a Box" places where they check your wallet first, then your medical condition.

We have a new clinic in town and I needed a doctor. I was shocked to find the place virtually empty, which made me wonder if a plague had wiped out all but the Staff. The Staff very kindly pointed out that I'd picked a rainy day at 1:00 p.m. when most folks were at work or their sniveling children were at school. Okay, they didn't add the last part. It was my observation. I filled out the requisite medical forms and sighed at how bad my handwriting has become due to my typing skills being more practiced.

After a few minutes they called me back and the humbling "Step on the scales" moment began. I was so shocked by the digital results that out of my mouth slipped, "I've lost two pounds!" When I looked at the nurse to offer an explanation, I added, "It's a start." That's when I noticed she wasn't exactly skinny either. Waiting to be hit with the clipboard I relaxed when she said, "And that's what counts!" She kindly walked me through why I was there, questioning me about just about every disease in the book as she made notes. Her pen actually hesitated above the paper when I answered NO to "smoking, drinking, drugs [legal or illegal]". I smiled and added, "Yea, I'm the only one in my family who didn't smoke, so guess who gets asthma?" She smiled.

That was a good thing, because she was reaching for mine enemy, the blood pressure cuff.

There is nothing so awful as feeling stupid. Especially when there is no reason to be worried in the first place. But for reasons I can't logically explain, when a BP cuff tightens around my arm, it makes me....angry. Always has. And up the numbers rise. So I usually say, with a smile, "Let me point out that I might make this thing explode, but I'm not going to have a stroke." The nurse always smiles, takes my pressure, the glares at me. Then taps on the machine. Then glares at me again as I feebly explain that I know my reaction to a mere machine is odd, but it's just me. Most of the time no one will take me up on taking my BP on the way OUT of the office. As I shared with her what my BP was when I took it at home [another Hubby thing..don't get me started], she looked at me in what can only politely be described as disbelief.

Then I had to deal with the Doc holding that chart, a perplexed expression on his medical face as he mentally goes over the 10,000 diseases in his head to put my name on.

Here we go, sighed the voice in my head.

The usual questions; the same answers, which are always viewed skeptically by Medical World. No, I don't smoke. Never have. No, don't drink either. I've learned to overlook the skeptical look of surprise. I fear I will one day become a one woman medical study. Step right up folks! She doesn't drink, she doesn't smoke, and ironically she has developed adult onset asthma!

The questions keep coming. No, I do not have high blood pressure, nor do I take medication for such. Yes, it is silly to have such a reaction by merely walking into a medical facility. No, I do not take drugs. In fact, my system is so sensitive I only take HALF of what is prescribed because it gives me the jitters. Yes, I am somewhat sleep deprived and it's after 2 p.m. and I haven't had lunch, but that's not the problem. My friend the nurse calls it "White Coat Syndrome"...the ridiculous impulse to feel nervous upon entering a medical facility for no damn logical reason. Doesn't happen when I'm the care giver or the support person. No, just when the patient is ME.

Worst of all, the more nervous I get, the faster I talk. Even I am yelling in my head, "Slow down you idiot before he has a drug dog sniff you!"

Doc looked at me and I began to wonder if antennae were growing out of my head. He was kind enough to play along, ordering blood work and a breathing test. He wanted to rule out a thyroid problem, which he advised often gives a person the appearance of having say....done speed or drunk 12 shots of Cuban coffee. I wanted to yell, "It's just nerves and your doubt isn't helping!" but I merely nodded.

Peggy, I tried to think of you and not grimace or wiggle when the girl took my blood.

Until she blew the vein and wanted the other arm. Sigh.

Doc came in to say I'd done well on my breathing test and didn't have a thyroid problem. I bit my tongue before my brain could add, "No duh!" We discussed, finally, the reason I'd come in: to find a controller med for my asthma, which isn't taking kindly to this weird winter weather this year. By then I'd calmed down some and didn't sound like an auctioneer on illegal drugs. He said the blood work would be done in a couple of days and he didn't expect anything bad but they'd call if something was out of whack. I envisioned him calling the Lab and asking for my blood alcohol content level. He did request that I get a chest x-ray just to have on hand should we need to compare in the future. And he'd like to see me in a month....to check my blood pressure again.

Sigh.

But then he said the one thing which made me believe he'd actually been listening while trying to find what I'd ingested to make me a babbling, quivering mass.

"You'll see on your prescription that rather than 2 puffs of these meds, I've ordered only one for you."

Victory is mine! I wanted to yell.

But then he had to add, "And this third prescription will help you sleep at night, feel calmer. You don't take aspirin do you? It's not really good for you and can raise your blood pressure."

"No Sir," I replied calmly. "We use Advil. Helps the hubby's back problems."

On the inside I was screaming at the top of my lungs, "I'll be fine just as soon as I leave here!"

I filled 2 out of 3 prescriptions, asking the Pharmacist to merely file the other one in case it proved necessary in the future. The asthma meds were necessary. I'd never heard of the other one and had a sneaking suspicion it might be for high blood pressure.

When I got home, I looked it up.

"Used to treat seizures, acute alcohol withdrawal and anxiety."

Sigh.

Sorry Doc. I don't do drugs. Even the kind prescribed with the best of intentions.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Microfiction Monday

With a mere 140 characters, use Susan's photo of the week to tell a story. Then make sure you tell her you played. Come on! It's fun!





"You said 'I'll be done writing by the time the cows come home.'
We're here.
AND we looked for Terrence along the way.
So, you done yet?"